Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Where I am From

I came across this today, and thought it was a fun and interesting exercise. Schmutzie.com has a Mr Linky widget where lots of people have linked to their versions. The original is this poem by George Ella Lyons, which inspired the template here, though several people, including me, have deviated from that a little.

photo from here 

I am from alleys between houses, connecting the streets like secret passageways.  I am from books, from reading for hours in bed by a chink of light through the door when I should have been asleep.

I am from wide streets with no trees, wrought-iron gates, and an aviary in the garden, behind which my brother saw a newt and thought it was a crocodile.  I am from bunk beds, the fear of craneflies  in the entrance and the excitement of cows in the street and in the playground. I am from nightmares of drowning in the mythical quicksand over the fields. I am from the tiny yellow house where there was no Narnia in my wardrobe.  From the teenage embarrassment of a front window decorated red white and blue for the Royal Wedding.

I am from tiny, perfectly round red berries I collected on my way to school, from making rose petal perfume and green ink from grass and the smell of stocks through the French doors. From the sight and the scent of sweet peas. 

I am from the Crane frown and  inherited teeth.  I am from weekly visits from Auntie Doris - pocket money and sweets,  and weekly visits to Auntie Doris, pickled onions and cherry bakewells.   From my Nan’s handstands up the coal bunker in the back garden. From Grandad diving behind the sofa when we heard a police car. I am from Bananaface, Cherryface and Clara the Fairy with the hobnailed boots and from Bobo Bunny comics read by Dad.

I am from three Jaffa cakes each because twelve divided by four is three, and I am from keeping the saucepans on top of the cooker, not on a shelf or in a drawer. 

From "You can have your sweets when you have eaten your dinner," and "I know you’re not tired but you have to go to bed because I am."

I am from being nominally Church of England though no one went to church except for weddings, funerals and christenings. I am from my own wonderful Humanist wedding. 

I’m from Essex and from London’s East End. From fish and chips, warm orange squash that hurt my throat, spaghetti bolognese made with tinned mince and packet soup. I am from (only) being allowed two ice creams when I went with Dad on his round.  

I am from Thomas and Eliza who had ten children and lost five, who had to put their children in the workhouse. I am from Charlotte who lived and died in the institution, who could not leave even when she was well because no one had room for her. From Tom who died at Ypres and the mystery girl with him in the studio photograph taken two months before he died. I am from the Burnhams and the Cranes, the Huguenots of France and I  am from Soham in Cambridgeshire in the time of Henry VIII.

I am from the pictures on the walls of my parents' house, in the albums under the bed in their spare room and from the hundreds of unsorted photographs in boxes that I haven’t looked at in decades.

This is where I am from today. Tomorrow I may be from somewhere else.


  1. This is absolutely beautiful and thanks for sharing!

  2. I wish you had a Like button!

    Lovely post.

    BTW, I don't comment more because it takes forever to do it.

  3. Hi Tilly

    Thank you, I really enjoyed writing it. So many little memories came back to me.

    Thanks also for the feedback on commenting, I have removed the word verification element, hopefully that will help.

    Also added a like button, just for you :-)

  4. This was wondrous. It reached that point where language becomes tactile. Such a gift.

  5. Thank you so much Amanda, what a lovely thing to say.

  6. The maker of warm orange squash13 July 2011 at 16:11

    Loved reading this Deb, so many memories!

  7. Hi Mum. There was so much more I could have written! Once you start it all comes flooding in to your mind. You should write one.

  8. This is fantastically rich in Life-story, heartwarming detail and a tapestry of vivid colors of memory.

    Thanks for sharing this with the world and for sharing such a special part of you.

  9. This is so lovely. Really imaginative and - just lovely.

    (Scurrying off to plan mine!).

  10. Thanks, I will look forward to reading yours!

  11. I love how you ended this! Beautifully written. :)

  12. Hello Debbie! Only just saw this, it's so beautifully done. I love how the memory snippets give little snapshots of imagery that can only be yours.
    Sara x

  13. What a lovely thing to say, Sara, thank you.


please leave a comment or just say hello, I'd love to hear from you!